8 ways a dance couple reaches a creative compromise – and how these could work for you too

It takes two to tango, as they say.

We wish we could avoid conflict and disagreements, but sometimes it can’t be helped. We want things done our way, after all. 😉

But good things happen when things work out and you reach a compromise… or when you meet someone who totally gets you.

Dancers Rachel Lee and Marcus Tan knew the exact moment they realised they could actually work together – and that it would eventually be a successful pairing.

ScRach MarcS Rachel Lee Marcus Tan
They've got the rhythm (Photo by @sifa_sg)

“It was back in 2009 to 2010, when we joined our first dance battle together as a duo,” they recall. “We were both pretty new to dance (one to two years into it), but we managed to feed off each other’s creative energy and had a lot of fun training together.”

Now known as ScRach MarcS, a creative outfit based in Singapore, the couple choreographs, performs, and collaborates with local and international brands for events, commercials and projects to help them get their message across.

Popular for their street and contemporary dance styles (and for winning Mediacorp’s “The Dance Floor” Season 2), Rachel and Marcus have worked with the Singapore Tourism Board, Spotify, Uniqlo and Scoot Airlines, just to name a few.

They hold dance programmes and classes too. 👍

Rachel and Marcus are a team. But what do they think makes them unique as one?

“I think our chemistry?” they laugh. “It helps that we’ve worked together for a long time (13 years now), and on top of that we are a couple. We live together and basically spend a lot of time together, whether we’re working or not. We understand our strengths and are able to complement each other too.

“Maybe one final thing is we’re both dreamers and we love to try new things, so we’re always excited to work on projects and also go on food hunts together.”

ScRach MarcS Rachel Lee Marcus Tan
They gel (Photo by @littlevictah)

Even better, though, is what makes them unique as individuals.

“Marcus is a yes man and is always up for new ideas and adventures,” Rachel says. “He’s super creative, dares to dream, and always has a positive mindset. On top of that, he’s also a very passionate and patient dance educator.”

“Rachel is the life of the party and is always up for a good laugh and doing silly things,” Marcus adds. “She’s free-spirited and loves to meet, collaborate and work with people. She loves to bounce off ideas, but is also able to execute them and make these ideas come to life.”

Seal the deal

Still, the two butt heads sometimes and differ in their creative expression. But they’ve come up with a few ways to reach a creative compromise.

Think you can use these for work and life? They sound simple, but you may have forgotten to put them into practice. Try them again and see.

#1 Listen

Me: I think this is important. Not a lot of people really and truly listen nowadays. 😔

#2 Talk it out

“We talk it out and discuss it for as long as we can, so we lay everything out on the table to decide what’s the next best step for us.”

#3 One can take the reins

“Sometimes we come to a conclusion that’s a win-win situation, but sometimes we’re also okay to let one person lead with his/her creative direction this time round, and evaluate after.”

#4 Stay calm!

Yes, with an exclamation mark. 😊

#5 Enjoy the process

This way, each dance becomes unforgettable.

“Every dance experience has a different process – whether it’s the approach, the idea, the brief, the research, the trial and error, the duration we get to work on it, the people we collaborated or worked with – which makes it special for us!”

ScRach MarcS Rachel Lee Marcus Tan
They've got their creative hats on (Photo by @elainewoohoo)

#6 Keep an open mind

And remember why and who you’re doing it for in the first place.

This is how the couple approach a new dance or artistic partnership, collaboration or project, competition or assignment:

“We’re always very excited to meet new people, artists or brands because everyone has a story to tell, experiences and expertise to share, and every connection and interaction is important to us.

“As for projects, competitions and assignments, we approach it conceptually and always tie it back to the theme or the intention of the creation.”

#7 You matter

What do people usually get right, or wrong, about dance duos and partnerships, and how they work?

“They usually see us as a duo, nothing more, nothing less,” they observe. “But we’re also creative individuals who have our own personal interests and goals; plus we love to work with other people and artists too.”

#8 It takes more than just talent and skill

Not just to make it in dance, but in life too, if you think about it. 😉

According to the two, you need: “A positive mindset, a good work ethic, knowledge of branding, and being confident!”

Are you about to embark on a collaboration or partnership? Or are you already in one? Maybe the above reminders can help. 👍

Find Rachel and Marcus here and on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

ScRach MarcS Rachel Lee Marcus Tan
It's still art (Photo by @hazelofglory)

Part of the reason for this post

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like there are two sides warring within me. 🙂

They’re both fighting and trying to get the upper hand, and whoever wins dictates how your day is spent. If you’re going to be positive or negative. If you’re going to get stuff done or just cruise along. If you’re going to be aloof and detached or emotional and mad. If you’re going to be competent or confused about whatever it is you’re doing.

If you’re going to beat yourself up or be kind to yourself. If you’re going to be a team player for the good of everyone… or not.

If you’re going to be all of the above (and drive yourself mad).

It’s like you have to coach, mentor, and even befriend one or both.

I think these two sides can reach a compromise. 😁 It’s not about who’s winning or losing, or whose decision gets followed. They can meet each other halfway.

Or at least one of them shouldn’t get the upper hand all the time. And I’m being realistic here. It’s not good to be blindly positive and optimistic. It’s also good to be grounded.

No one side needs to be overpowered. One side shouldn’t necessarily be ignored or tamped down. Both offer reasons and truths that should be acknowledged and faced.

When I came across Rachel and Marcus’ story, the words I immediately thought of were “creative compromise”. It sounds like a stretch to connect their story to mine, but there you go. 😉

There are lessons to be learnt from effective collaborations and partnerships. Maybe our own two sides should look at things through or as a collaboration, partnership or team. The results could give you some peace of mind.

Okay, this conversation is getting too serious and weird. 😁

Go through tips #1 to #8, and apply them to yourself (especially when there’s a tug-of-war going on in your heart and mind), and not just to work and colleagues. They may even work on friends and family.

What do you think? 😊